Defending champions Orlando Pirates began life under new coach Roger de Sa with a 1-0 win at Platinum Stars today in the South African Premiership. De Sa succeeded former Peruvian FIFA World Cup™ midfielder Augusto Palacios this week and saw Andile Jali calmly convert a 69th-minute penalty to get the Buccaneers back on the winning track.
Victory in Rustenburg lifted Pirates to fifth place after four rounds - one point adrift of front-runners Maritzburg United, Free State Stars and Pretoria University.
A former national team goalkeeper, De Sa was fired by Bidvest Wits just before the 2012/13 season kicked off last month and has a tough act to follow as Pirates have won three of the four domestic trophies in the past two seasons.
It was not an impressive showing by the Soweto club, who have dominated South African football for decades alongside Kaizer Chiefs, and they enjoyed a one-man advantage from the 18th minute when Stars' Thabiso Semenya was sent off.
Coaches Johan Neeskens, himself a FIFA World Cup veteran, and Swede Roger Palmgren entered the weekend under pressure after poor early-season form. And their plights worsened with Neeskens' Mamelodi Sundowns losing 1-0 away to Lamontville Golden Arrows in Durban while Palmgren's AmaZulu crashed 3-0 at three-time champions SuperSport United.
A match of few chances between Arrows and Sundowns seemed destined to end goalless until the visitors conceded a stoppage-time penalty that Thanduyise Khuboni neatly tucked into the corner. It was the third consecutive league loss for Sundowns.
Mabhudi Khenyeza scored twice inside the first half hour in Polokwane to leave AmaZulu on the ropes and ex-Zambia midfielder Clifford Mulenga applied the knockout punch seven minutes from time.
Chiefs were leading Black Leopards 2-0 after 33 minutes at Soccer City in Soweto when a fierce storm brought play to a premature end and the fixture will be replayed Wednesday.